Every month, we will feature an active member of the ACG New York community in a brief interview. Reflecting industry insight and personal perspective, this feature will introduce industry leaders and offer advice on the tools you need to succeed in the ever-changing middle market.
1. Quick basics– role/firm/focus/how long have you been an ACG member?
I am a Managing Director and Co-Head of our Origination team at Deerpath Capital, a leading provider of customized, cash flow-based senior debt financing to lower middle market companies across diverse industries. Deerpath is headquartered in New York, with offices in Los Angeles, Boston, Ft. Lauderdale, and Chicago. Deerpath invests between $15 million to $50 million in companies that are typically financial sponsor-backed and/or owner-operated, with revenues of $10 million to $200 million. As a senior investment professional leading national origination for the firm, I’m the primary point-person with our private equity and investment bank relationships nationwide. I have been an ACG member since 2012.
2. What do you think are the biggest obstacles in the middle market today?
I think one of the biggest concerns in the middle market is the sheer influx of new capital that has flooded the market over the last several years. This has resulted from an increased number of participants entering the U.S. direct lending market as well as existing participants raising substantially larger funds. This crowed playing field has resulted in all-time high company valuations. The challenge now is how to separate ourselves from the pack and remain differentiated in terms of our products and offerings.
3. How has ACG helped you in your career?
Being a member of ACG has been extremely valuable for me and my firm. ACG has enabled me to develop new relationships and re-engage with old relationships which is a pivotal part of my role at Deerpath. It’s really allowed me to develop a large network of both professional contacts and friends, so that I can continue to leverage each ACG member’s business skills and services. ACG has provided a platform for me to engage with a spectrum of industry leaders across private equity, banking, consulting, etc., which has helped me grow my business and be successful in my career. Events held by ACG New York and across the country have allowed me to enhance Deerpath’s presence in not only the local market here but across the country as well. ACG is one of my most important resources in developing networking contacts, which I find invaluable at this stage.
4. Can you tell us about your greatest success story/ proudest achievement?
I’m very fortunate to be able to work with a group of experienced, intelligent and collegial professionals at my current firm. Professionally, one of my most rewarding successes and achievements has been the opportunity that I’ve been given to build our origination platform nationwide at Deerpath—building something that we feel is sustainable and will provide long-term opportunities for our firm. So, outside of one particular investment financing opportunity, it’s really is the ability to grow our origination and sourcing platform, and to have Deerpath in conversations within the lower middle market on a consistent basis.
5. What changes do you foresee happening in the middle market in the next 3-5 years?
It’s very difficult to predict the next five days, never mind the next five years. Historically, there have always been pullbacks, some deeper than others. I think the middle market is here to stay but there will likely be a correction when the next recessionary period hits. That is why we are building a portfolio with ample downside protections in place to be able to withstand economic headwinds.
I think private equity and private debt will remain a valuable resource for corporate growth and development over time. Further, I believe the creative aspect in structuring deals will be contingent on the ongoing availability of capital and ample sources of opportunities in the market. I believe that having the capital available for financing and investing in the lower middle market will continue. The middle market is the life blood of the U.S.